This isn’t about pride.
Or playing the role of spoiler or exacting revenge, or any of that other junk some writers would like you to believe tomorrow’s season finale against Red Bull New York (1:30 p.m., NBC) is about.
It’s about a win.
In the last match of the season, on national television against a rival that is in the playoffs regardless; a win is paramount for the fanbase.
Because we’re sure the Red Bulls couldn't care less if they go 2-1 against the Union during the regular season.
This match needs to prove that despite all the roster shake-ups and shifts, the removal of pieces during the season that didn’t fit – and later, the pieces postseason managerial decisions will show aren’t going to fit – that the Union have a strong nucleus looking forward to 2013.
Because quite frankly, it’s what the standing room only crowd at PPL Park needs to see. It was the sentiment of Union midfielder Michael Farfan during a press conference earlier this week.
“It’s very important for us to finish off strong at home to give our fans a good three points and leave the season on a good note,” Farfan said. “Especially considering Red Bulls at home is a great game to get up for.”
Union boss John Hackworth also echoed those sentiments.
“The fact that it is the last game of the year for us, we really want to close out on a positive note,” Hackworth said. “So I don’t think it’s going to be tough for me to get these guys up for this one.”
Check out video from that press conference here.
Nick Sakiewicz returned from his European excursion that was anything but a vacation. Sakiewicz hit multiple cities, visited 14 clubs and attended two international summits, most notably the Leaders in Football conference held last week in London.
“I have been doing these European trips for close to 20 years and I have never heard people talk about soccer in this country the way they discussed MLS,” said Sakiewicz. “We had leaders from various top clubs in France, Italy, Portugal say how impressed they were with the structure, attention to the business side and the overall improvement of quality talent. You got the sense that MLS has arrived after that trip.”
Sakiewicz said while it was “less of a scouting trip,” which he said he defers to his technical staff, he did meet with eight top European agents, many of which manage players on clubs he visited. To name a few of those clubs, Sakiewicz said he visited Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Lyon and Monaco (France) and both Inter and AC Milan of Italy.
In the pressroom…
Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Union can ruffle New York's feathers tomorrow with a win, which is true but as aforementioned, should not be all tomorrow is about. And it appears the headline writers of the Inky and CSNPhilly.com share the share the same brain. Adam Cann of Philly Soccer Page provides this breakdown and pens this quote about Union forward Jack McInerney:
“When Jack McInerney did his Superman celebration [against Houston], it felt like he was telling us what we already knew. The fans knew there was a special talent in there, but the kid who smiles slightly less than Mario Balotelli after a goal had to believe it too.”
Antoine Hoppenot told MLSSoccer.com writer Dave Zeitlin that “I guess other MLS players don't like me that much,” in regards to how many times the rookie forward is fouled. Hoppenot was referring to his ability to break down already tired defenders whenever Hack uses him as a late sub, but we feel going Gangnam Style in front of the opposition’s bench doesn’t deter catching an elbow to the chest either.
Which is why we love the kid…
Contact Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr